How to Sanitize Hummingbird Feeders

How to Sanitize Hummingbird Feeders
Hummingbird feeders should be sanitized at least once a month as a part of your routine cleaning. If they show signs of black mold, take them down, clean and sanitize them immediately. Sanitizing your hummingbird feeders is an important part of responsible bird feeding: Failure to do so may introduce a deadly disease called candidiasis, which is fatal to hummingbirds. (See Reference 1.)


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Bottle brush Mild dish soap Bleach
  • Bottle brush
  • Mild dish soap
  • Bleach
Step 1
Empty all the sugar water or nectar out of your hummingbird feeder. You should be doing this every two or three days anyway.
Step 2
Scrub the hummingbird feeder completely clean, inside and out, with a bottle brush. You can use boiling hot water alone to do this, or combine warm water with a mild dish soap. If you use dish soap, rinse thoroughly after completing this step.
Step 3
Fill your kitchen sink or a bucket with a solution of one part bleach to ten parts water.
Step 4
Soak the hummingbird feeder in this bleach solution for anywhere from ten minutes to an hour.
Step 5
Remove the hummingbird feeder from the bleach and rinse thoroughly with copious amounts of running water.
Step 6
Refill the hummingbird feeder immediately once it has been thoroughly rinsed--there is no need to wait for it to dry.

Tips & Warnings

If possible, wait to sanitize your hummingbird feeder until after dark, when the birds are done feeding, and return it to its place before dawn the next day.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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